interview & photographs by Justin Thor Simenson
This article was originally published in April 2014 and since then some of the members mentioned in the following article are no longer with the band. Port Alice continues as a four piece band based in Albuquerque, NM. Their new album titled Ennui was released in March 2015.
Port Alice boils down to one thing; four friends with a passion for creating original music. All four of them hail from the southeast part of New Mexico, but are now playing local gigs in the Albuquerque area.
Port Alice didn't always have these four friends. Like most bands they have went through different lineups. Craige and Brandon formed the band and took the original lineup of Port Alice to northern California. They wanted to try the music scene along the west coast but the constant touring took it’s toll. “It was not very productive, you know it was a lot of money and we were hungry.” Craige explains. But they didn't let that dampen their spirits. They came back to Albuquerque and started another band, but when that band broke up Craige and Brandon decided to revisit Port Alice. “We brought Port Alice back in a different light and lineup.” Brandon remembers. That is when they connected with their old friends from home and the current lineup came to be.
Q: How does being in Albuquerque benefit your genre of music?
A: It is hard to gauge because the scene is so diverse and not unified. We try to network as much as we can. Sometimes we play shows with bands that don’t necessarily have same genre as us, just because we need someone to play shows. Our philosophy is to build a community and to bridge the different groups here in Albuquerque. It is what we want to do and what we like to do because we want a healthy music scene.
They work 9–5’s so that they can put their creative minds together and make the music that they want to put out into the world. “It is an art form for us and we take it seriously.” Brandon explains. “It can be hard, it will drive you to certain places that you never thought you would go even depression. Which connects to what the show is about tonight.” The gig they were playing was a benefit show for The Semicolon Tattoo Project, a campaign to help prevent suicide and help mental health awareness. “But I welcome anyone to be a musician, I think it is a great thing to do.”
They are constantly working on new songs, performing a new song at this gig in fact. They have been working with other local musicians that are recording out of their houses and have release several EP’s, which are available for download on their bandcamp page. Andrew explains “We hope to get into a professional studio someday, but it is expensive.” The guys also would like to have a record label at some point, but until then they are doing it all DIY. “It would be nice to have somebody working for us. It would take some load off, but at this point we are on our own.” Brandon closed the interview with some great words of advice: “Go out and hear live music. Don’t forget what it feels like to be in a crowd of people and hear a band play.”